HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening statement:"Good to see everyone, appreciate everyone being here. [It was] a good practice, [it's a] beautiful day, and we're excited to get ready for a very tough matchup up in New York at MetLife [Stadium] against the Giants. [They are] a very well-coached team, very talented team, obviously a very successful team – 4-1. So, we're looking forward to it; it will be a big challenge for us. What questions do you have?"
We saw OLB David Ojabo present for his first practice today after tearing his Achilles at his Pro Day in March. How impressed are you to see him out there this quickly and when do you think he could play? _(Jamison Hensley) _"[I'm] very impressed. A game, we'll see. We're going to take it one step at a time; it won't be this week. [David Ojabo] said October. I remember he told me October, and I might have mentioned that to you guys early on, and here he is practicing in October. So, very impressed. A great job by [head certified athletic trainer] Adrian Dixon and the training staff in there and the weight staff led by [head strength & conditioning coach] Steve Saunders helping him get back. We'll see – today was just the first step – we'll see how he responds."
Are David Ojabo's 'football legs' in shape yet, or does he still have 'beach legs,' like he said a few weeks ago? (Jonas Shaffer) _"Yes, the football legs, the beach legs. _(laughter)The football legs are back, and I have been paying attention to that. I have been looking at his legs, I have to admit, and they look like football legs."
You have some history with Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale while he was coaching here, and you kind of know each other's tendencies. Does that affect your game-planning at all, or do you just get ready to play football? _(Todd Karpovich) _"Both. It's going to be interesting that way. You recognize what's on the tape, and he has new wrinkles of course. They do a great job; he's a great coach. I've known Don [Martindale] ... We've been friends since we were kids in coaching, [and] I'm proud of him for what he did here, obviously. He's doing a great job up there; they're playing great defense. So, nothing but respect and love."
How differently do you expect Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale to approach this matchup? (Shawn Stepner) _"It's a great question. We were just having that conversation out there; it's like, 'He knows that we know, that we know that he knows, that he knows that we know.' So, it's something like that. _(laughter)"
MetLife Stadium doesn't have the best turf, so is it safe to say that the pitch count will continue for RB J.K. Dobbins and T Ronnie Stanley? _(Reeta Hubbard) _"Man, you're tying a lot of lines, a lot of dots together. I can't follow that quite as well, but I'm sure that it will continue to grow, and we'll just see what it does."
You spoke about it after the Week 1 Jets game; Do you have any concerns about playing on the MetLife Stadium turf this Sunday? _(Jamison Hensley) _"I can't be thinking about that. All of our guys, we're just going to go out there and play. I'm sure they'll have it in great shape, and we have to make sure that we're in great shape, and we're ready to play."
We saw OLB Tyus Bowser back at practice today, how good is it to see that? _(Melissa Kim) _"It's great to see Tyus [Bowser] back as well. Tyus is another guy who's worked extremely hard; I think he's taken it very seriously. He's been involved in every aspect of his rehab, and he's done a great job. He's really strong, and he looks good. So, just kind of get him going with the football, and we'll see where we're at."
Is it too early to rule OLB Tyus Bowser out for Sunday? _(Jeff Zrebiec) _"It's probably too early to rule him out, yes."
Was T Ronnie Stanley not practicing today part of the routine, or did he have some sort of injury? (Jeff Zrebiec) _"I think I've answered enough injury questions at this point in time. You make me uncomfortable now; you shouldn't back-to-back them like that. _(laughter)I get uncomfortable; I'm trying to be friendly, I'm trying to be nice, and what do I get for it? One injury question after another. (laughter)"
How do you prepare to face RB Saquon Barkley? _(Cordell Woodland) _"Well you have to. He has to be public enemy No. 1 for us. Then, public enemy No. 1a is probably Daniel Jones, then their offensive line is playing really well, and the young tight ends and the receivers. Those receivers are coming in, [Darius] Slayton has looked really good, Richie [James] has looked really good in there. Saquon Barkley is definitely the main guy. You can tell; they try to get him the ball every way they can. He's in the backfield, he's out of the backfield, he's a wide receiver, he's in screens, he's in every kind of screen there is, he has about every run. Oh, and then he plays quarterback, too. So, he's pretty impressive."
How difficult was the meeting after the 2021 season with Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale to tell him that his time in Baltimore was over? _(Bob Brookover) _"It wasn't like that; we had great conversations throughout. We were talking all the time. We're close, so it wasn't like a specific meeting. It was just kind of an opportunity to talk about where we were both going and what was best. I think we both came to that decision together, I'd say; that's how I would like to look at it. I feel that way about it, and I think it's turning out great for him. [I have] nothing but admiration for what he's doing."
Is the defensive coordinator a position that sometimes just needs to be changed, a different voice? _(Bob Brookover) _"I don't know, I don't really have any thoughts on it right now. I'm just trying to figure out a way to gain a yard against him and get a stop against their offense really right now."
Do you have an over-under on the number of blitzes you will face? _(Jamison Hensley) _"Yes, [Don Martindale] is going to do whatever is best, just like they all do. [Head] Coach [Brian] Daboll is an amazing game-planner and schemer on offense. He's getting a lot of big plays out of that offense, so it's a well-coached team."
How have you seen QB Lamar Jackson progress this year playing against the blitz? (Bo Smolka) _"It's been good. You guys have seen him play. I would probably say what you guys would say. He's made progress; he's improved in that area, but not just him, we all have. In a game, it's always moving, it's always a moving target; it's not 'The Blitz.' There's all kinds of different blitzes, there's all kinds of different iterations that you come up with. You have an answer, then they come up with an answer. I think it's way more complicated than chess. I don't know, I'm not a good chess player. I'd like to be – who has time for that? _(laughter)Chess is like one-dimensional; football is multi-dimensional, then you have personalities involved, and it's moving really fast out there. You don't just trade moves either. Sometimes you get three, four moves in a row. Sometimes, your knight has a bad knee or something. (laughter)That doesn't seem right. So, it's just a crazy, exciting operation trying to figure all that stuff out. Lamar has done a great job with the blitz aspect of it."
So you never played chess with former Ravens player John Urschel? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"Oh gosh, can you imagine? Can you imagine how fast that would be over?"
Is it reinvigorating for you to have defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald come in and reinvent some things about this defense and try new things? _(Jonas Shaffer) _"We do that every year anyway. When you have carry over, you're still [reinventing]. You're not just throwing the same playbook out there. You just can't do that in this league and last. So, we do that every single year; we do it every week really, in all honesty. We're always researching plays from around college football and around pro football [for] all three phases. That's just part of it. So, I think it's what makes coaching exciting in this sport."
ILB Patrick Queen said he wanted to make a jump in his third season. Have you seen him do that so far? (Rocco DiSangro) "Yes, I would say yes. He's done a really good job. He just wants to be good so bad. That's so important to him, and sometimes our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. I tell him all the time, 'Take a deep breath. Take a deep breath, see what the play is and then go make the tackle.' When he does that, he plays his best, but he's playing really good football for us. I'm proud of him."
TE MARK ANDREWS
On what he is expecting to see from Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale's defense after going against it in practice for so long:"I'm excited. [Don Martindale] knows I have a ton of respect for him and who he is as a coach, [and] as a person, but I'm excited to go up against him and have that challenge."
On if teams have been defending him differently:"Nothing is too crazy. We have such a dynamic offense with Lamar [Jackson], all our pieces. So, all our guys that surround Lamar are big time. So, they can't really key in on one guy, so everyone has been helping each other out, which has been nice."
On the importance of WR Devin Duvernay's emergence to the offense:"Huge. He just has this sense about him, especially this year, but [he's been] extremely focused. He's doing his thing; he's playing really, really well in all phases of the ball."
On WR Devin Duvernay's personality and if he is quiet away from the public: "He's an extremely humble person. He's about his business; he doesn't want too much attention. He just wants to go to work, do his job and win some football games, which is an awesome teammate to have. I love 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay], and I love everything that he stands for."
On how T Ronnie Stanley looked in his first game back from injury:"He looked really good. Anytime you're kind of out for two years, you don't know what to expect, but he's powerful, he's strong, and he's only going to get better and better. So, I'm excited about him and his growth and where he's going to go. I know he's extremely focused as well."
On how he thinks the offense will evolve as more guys continue to return:"The more pieces that we have, the better. 'G-Ro' [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] does a great job of scheming things up, using everybody, drawing flies with some guys, and going one way and doing the other. So, I'm excited for all the guys to get back. We have a scary offense and a scary team. A lot of great players, and I say that over and over again. [We have] a lot of guys that want to compete and win. Right now, we're just taking it week by week, one game at a time. That's where our heads are at."
On being familiar with MetLife stadium and if that helps:"Yes, I think it's nice anytime you play anywhere, it's nice to have played there before. For me, I like to visualize making plays and stuff like that, so I'm going to be able to do that, obviously having played there before."
On the development of TE Josh Oliver's game:"He's just continued to prove people wrong. It's awesome to see him really grasp this offense and flourish. He's done a really, really good job. He's a powerful dude, but [an] extremely athletic guy. He's someone that the defense has to respect because he's so athletic, and he's so good at blocking, as well. So, he's a big piece of our offense; he does a lot for us. He's really getting it, [and] I'm proud of him."
On if he expects Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale to bring heavy pressure like he usually does:"You never know. I think the best thing to do is be ready for anything; be ready for '[Cover] Zero,' be ready for any look that you might see. I know that's what we're focusing on right now is just being ready. We know the type of coach that he is, and we have a lot of respect for him. So again, it's going to be a dog fight, it's going to be a good game. We're excited about playing in New York, and it's going to be a good one."
DE CALAIS CAMPBELL
On wearing sandals to the podium and if that means it was a good off day: "Oh, yes, yes, yes.(laughter) It's much appreciated. Some of the young guys, they don't understand. They give me a hard time about taking time off from practice, but they'll get it once they get to that 10-plus [seasons]. But it's definitely … You try to go out there and perform at your best every week, and it takes a while to get back to that level where you can do it again the following week. So, an off day is much appreciated."
On what OLBs Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo can bring to the defense: "Oh, man, it's very exciting. Tyus [Bowser] is a proven vet – just a very smart player. [With] what he can do as a pass rusher, as a dropper and just with his disguises and just understanding the playbook, he's a guy that makes us so much better. And then the 'Young Buck' [David Ojabo], I think he has so much potential, and everybody is excited to see what he can do; we really just don't know. You saw his potential – you see it every day, really, but you definitely saw it when he was in college – and just the energy he brings. It's kind of exciting; you can see he has a strong confidence, and I can't wait to see what he does when he's out there. So, it's just a matter of time. They're getting healthy; they're really pushing themselves to be out there. It's coming soon. I can't wait to get them out there."
On how adding key players can add to the defense's ability to generate a four-man pass rush: "Yes, yes, it's nice. I think most D-linemen love rushing four [players], because that means that the DBs [are in coverage], and you have more time to get sacks and make plays. So, any time we can get the coach's confidence and know that we can get there and wreak havoc with a four-man rush, it's always exciting. And when you bring just more guys that can do it at a high level, then you can rotate, keep everybody fresh and make sure that at two-minute drives and critical points in the ballgame, we can send a fresh lineup in, going against guys who are fatigued. I think that just makes us so much better – when you have an arsenal of guys."
On what he thinks Giants defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale is telling his team: "Well, we are very similar; we do the same defense. Obviously, there are different styles with coaching and stuff. But Lamar [Jackson] has practiced in camp against him for years, and obviously, it's way different when you're game-planning, and you never game-plan in practice, so it's going to be a little bit different. But both teams have an advantage with knowing each other. From a defensive standpoint, the offenses should really know us well – both ways. But 'Wink' [Giants defensive coordinator Don 'Wink' Martindale] is a great coach, a great guy, love him. He's definitely going to have the troops riled up. I know this means something to him; it's only natural. We're human beings by nature, and this job definitely puts us in position to have those emotional attachments and draws to certain teams that you've been at. When you go somewhere else, and you come back or get to face your old team, it definitely just gives you a little bit more of an edge. So, I know this was circled on the calendar, and it's going to be a big game. I think it's going to be fun. I can't wait to see what Lamar does. In practice, we go against him a lot, and there are days when he dominates us, and there are days when we dominate. So, I think he knows the defense very well, and I think that should, hopefully, give us some kind of advantage. We'll see. But it's going to be a fun matchup."
On how much of a focus there is on being more stout against the run, given the upcoming two opponents: "Yes, I think that's very important, especially this week. I think they're [the Giants] are the No. 1 rushing offense in football, right now, and they do so much. Saquon Barkley, he's a spectacular player. I remember, I played against him in the first game of his career, and he had a big day. We won the ballgame, but he had a monster day. And then I just saw his potential, and then he had some injuries and all that good stuff, and it really doesn't matter. But today, he looks like a way better version of what I saw in the first game of his career. He's a special player. He can do everything with the ball in his hands – catch the ball out of the backfield. He's a threat that we really have to do a good job of containing. And so, a lot of respect for him. And then the quarterback [Daniel Jones] does a really good job running, as well, and so they put a lot of pressure on us. We have to be very, very stout in the run game and in our gameplan, making sure that [there are] 11 hats to the ball, because even when you're in position to make a play, he breaks guys down and makes it really tough on them, so it can't be one guy making a tackle; it has to be all of us – all 11 of us; 11 hats to the ball."
On how a guy like CB Marcus Peters can lift the entire group:"Yes, football is a very emotional game, and the emotions are contagious. When you're rolling, and somebody makes a big play, Marcus [Peters] makes a big play, and he gets fired up, that goes to the whole team – both offense, defense [and] special teams. It goes through the whole team. And so, when you play with that fire and that fight, and you play with a passion like that, it's very much contagious."
On the challenges of avoiding the roughing the passer penalties: "Yes, it's tough – it really is. Go back to my rookie year; you could pretty much do anything you wanted to, to a quarterback, other than your head [hitting] his head. (laughter)So, times have changed a lot. But I will say that we get it; they want to keep the game safe, and you make the rules to try to protect guys, but it does make it hard. It makes it very, very hard. And yes, they kind of say you have a strike zone, and really, our coaches teach us just saw him in half; just kind of go to that belt line and saw him in half. But you've still got to put your hands out or kind of roll. They just make it really hard on us. But it is what it is. You try to play the game as hard as you can, with tenacity and a fierceness, without getting penalized, and it just makes you let up on the quarterbacks a little bit more, but that's just part of the game."
On what has been different about this defense to spark improvement since the Miami game:"A lot of our success is just being disciplined and playing disciplined football. When we made mistakes and gave up a bunch of points, it really was from making mistakes. You don't want to see a lot of guys getting beat, although that happens, too, but it was really just … We'll just say, everything is new. We have a new play-caller, a lot of young guys we're depending on, some older guys who haven't been here long, and [we're] just kind of getting everybody to gel and play together and kind of get a feel for one another and how to communicate. All of that kind of plays a role together, and I felt like, as the season progresses, we should get a lot better, and you've seen it the last couple of weeks – where we're starting to play a lot better football – and hopefully, we continue to trend in that direction."
QB LAMAR JACKSON
On how many blitzes he expects from Giants defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale: "Ain't no telling. Coach "Wink" is known for exotic blitzes and just doing his thing. Shoutout to Coach 'Wink.'"
On his performance against the blitz, and if he'll be ready for whatever defense he sees: "Yes, absolutely – [I've been doing] a lot of studying and going against [Giants defensive coordinator Don 'Wink' Martindale] all the time in practices since my rookie season. Those guys are doing a great job at all types of blitzes; In different areas, different guys trapping with the blitz, cover-zero blitzes and stuff like that."
On if he expected the type of impact that WR Devin Duvernay has made in Year Three: "Yes, absolutely. 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay] is an all-around type of player. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, run great routes, catch the ball at the receiver position; I've [always] known that. I've been telling you guys how 'Duv' was, but we've just got to keep it going, though."
On if it felt good to have T Ronnie Stanley back at left tackle: "Oh, absolutely, absolutely – it was. I feel like he did a pretty good job with the snaps he was in."
On how he looks at roughing the passer penalties and why he never looks back at the referee in order to draw a penalty: "I'm about to start.(laughter)We've been needing some penalties, too, now – on our side. But if they see it, just, hopefully, they make the call; that's all I can say. I'm going to play football, but I'm going to start throwing my hands up, too. No hard feelings to the refs out there, though, but we need some calls. (laughter)We need some calls."
On if the offense feeds off of exciting plays from CB Marcus Peters: "Oh, absolutely. That's one of our leaders of the team. A lot of us look up to him, including myself – to MP [Marcus Peters] – and when he's out there doing what he does, we all get ecstatic on the sideline, and we tell him about it after the game."
On what he's seen from WRs James Proche II and Tylan Wallace: "We've just got to get those guys the ball more often. Those guys make a lot of magic on the field – getting a lot of yards after the catch when they get the ball in their hands. We've just got to get them opportunities – that's all – because they're great players."